The Lakers defence came up big in game three and they can keep up their aggressive play to take an almost unassailable lead against the Rockets, says Dave Gray
"While Houston have a phenomenal offence with the likes of James Harden often scoring at will, Los Angeles' all round game is just too much for them to hang with when it is all clicking."
Lakers have too much for the Rockets
Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, 00:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Arena
LeBron James had four blocks in an impressive defensive effort that saw the Lakers move 2-1 up in the series against the Rockets last time out.
The Lakers are one of the leagues best defences and that was the difference in game three. While Houston have a phenomenal offence with the likes of James Harden often scoring at will, Los Angeles' all round game is just too much for them to hang with when it is all clicking. In the entire fourth quarter on Tuesday, the Rockets were held to just 10 points with 2 from 8 shooting. In game one the Lakers lacked aggression but they have been excellent since and it is hard to see how Houston can win three of the next four to knock them out unless something changes drastically.
Harden is averaging 32 points in the series. That is obviously impressive but if they are going to head to the conference finals then he may need to push that closer to 40. They can't stop the Lakers offence so they will need to rely on their shooting, something they are capable of, but the question is if they can do it for long enough periods. Russell Westbrook bounced back in game three after a dismal performance two nights earlier and he could be the key for them.
Rajon Rondo had struggled a little since returning from injury but in game three we saw some of his best. His 21 points and nine assists were a big part of why the Lakers were so dominant in that fourth quarter. It has needed one of the supporting cast to step up and whether it is Rondo, Kyle Kuzma or somebody else, James and Anthony Davis need a third player to bring some solid contributions. The Lakers are favourites to take game four and if they do then it will leave the Rockets with a mountain to climb.
This is a key game in the series and that is often when we see LeBron at his very best. Expect him to come out with the aggression we have seen in the past two games and put the Lakers on the verge of a conference final where they would be likely to meet their neighbours, the Clippers.
Dave Gray's Regular Season NBA 2019/20 P/L